20/11/2017 in Highland Wildlife Park
RZSS Highland Wildlife Park is delighted to announce the arrival of two new European forest reindeer.
The new male and female reindeer, named Sven and Freya, have joined resident female Sahti at the Park and are settling in well.
The newly formed herd, which are all of the European forest subspecies, are the only group of truly wild reindeer in the UK as other herds are examples of the domestic form.
Douglas Richardson, Head of Living Collections at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park said “Like a number of the species at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, forest reindeer cannot be seen in any other collection in the UK, which is both a privilege and a responsibility. Their range within Finland is slowly expanding, but in Karelia, the neighbouring area across the Russian border, the species’ population continues to decline. With the addition of Sven and Freya, both born in 2016, we are now better placed to contribute to the established conservation breeding programme.”
Both the male and the female reindeer possess antlers, which are shed and re-grown each year, and they are the only deer species where this occurs. Unlike horns which grow from the base, antlers grow from the tip, rather like the branch of a tree. Typically, the females’ antlers are used solely for defence, whereas the males’ are also used for display and to fight with competing males during the breeding season.
Although reindeer are not globally threatened, being listed in the category of Least Concern by the IUCN, the European forest reindeer is threatened due to poaching, uncontrolled hunting and hybridisation (cross-breeding) with the much more plentiful domestic reindeer.
Treat yourself or the animal lover in your life to an RZSS animal adoption pack. In addition to making a great gift these also help to support our conservation work around the globe. Adoptions are available for all the animals in our collection and come in a variety of different levels.
Find out more: rzss.org.uk/adopt